Scam of the day – May 12, 2017 – Mother’s Day scams

Every day is Scam Day and Mother’s Day is no exception.  Although for many of us, Mother’s Day is an opportunity to show our mothers how much we love and appreciate them, for scam artists, the only criminals we refer to as artists, it is yet another opportunity to scam people.  One common Mother’s Day scam involves an email that you get offering Mother’s Day gifts such as flowers, jewelry, shoes or clothing at tremendously discounted prices.  All you need to do is to click on a link to order online.  The problem is that many of these offers are indeed scams.  If you click on the link, one of two things can happen and both are bad.  Sometimes the link will take you to an order form where you provide your credit card information, but never get anything in return.  Instead your credit card information is used to make you a victim of identity theft.  Even worse is the other possibility which is by clicking on the link, you will unwittingly download a keystroke logging malware program that will steal all of the personal information stored on your computer and use that information to make you a victim of identity theft.

Also, be careful when making online purchases.  Merely because a website offering great prices may be highly listed on Google or other search engines does not mean that it is legitimate.  All it means is that the scammers know how to manipulate the positioning of their website in a Google search.  Check out any company with which you may not be familiar with the Better Business Bureau or even Google the company’s name with the word “scam” added to the search and see what you come up with.  Even if you are dealing with a legitimate online company, make sure that your communications are encrypted when you are sending personal information or credit card information.  The easy way to do this is to look to see if the beginning of the web address of the company changes when you go to the page to input this information from “http” to “https” indicating that your data is being encrypted.  And of course, don’t use your debit card for retail purchases either online or in a brick and mortar store because you have less protection from fraud with a debit card than a credit card.

Finally, another Mother’s Day involves e-cards which are great, particularly for those of us who forget to get a Mother’s Day card until the last minute.  However, identity thieves will send emails purporting to contain a link to an electronic Mother’s Day card, but instead download that dangerous keystroke logging malware that I described above.

TIPS

It is always dangerous to buy anything online from any store or company with which you are not familiar.  Check out the company with the Better Business Bureau, your state’s Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission or just do a Google search to see if the company is legitimate.  Even then you are better off going directly to the company rather than dealing with a company through an email that may just be a forgery of an email from a legitimate company.  As always, if  the offer you receive sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  As for e-cards, never open an e card unless it specifically indicates who sent the card.  Phony e cards will not indicate the name of the sender.

Scam of the day – May 8, 2016 – Mother’s day scams

Every day is Scam Day and Mother’s Day is no exception.  Although for many of us, Mother’s Day is an opportunity to show our mothers how much we love and appreciate them, for scam artists, the only criminals we refer to as artists, it is yet another opportunity to scam people.  One common Mother’s Day scam involves an email that you get offering Mother’s Day gifts such as flowers, jewelry, shoes or clothing at tremendously discounted prices.  All you need to do is to click on a link to order online.  The problem is that many of these offers are indeed scams.  If you click on the link, one of two things can happen and both are bad.  Sometimes the link will take you to an order form where you provide your credit card information, but never get anything in return.  Instead your credit card information is used to make you a victim of identity theft.  Even worse is the other possibility which is by clicking on the link, you will unwittingly download a keystroke logging malware program that will steal all of the personal information stored on your computer and use that information to make you a victim of identity theft.

Also, be careful when making online purchases.  Merely because a website offering great prices may be highly listed on Google or other search engines does not mean that it is legitimate.  All it means is that the scammers know how to manipulate the positioning of their website in a Google search.  Check out any company with which you may not be familiar with the Better Business Bureau or even Google the company’s name with the word “scam” added to the search and see what you come up with.  Even if you are dealing with a legitimate online company, make sure that your communications are encrypted when you are sending personal information or credit card information.  The easy way to do this is to look to see if the beginning of the web address of the company changes when you go to the page to input this information from “http” to “https” indicating that your data is being encrypted.  And of course, don’t use your debit card for retail purchases either online or in a brick and mortar store because you have less protection from fraud with a debit card than a credit card.

Finally, another Mother’s Day involves e-cards which are great, particularly for those of us who forget to get a Mother’s Day card until the last minute.  However, identity thieves will send emails purporting to contain a link to an electronic Mother’s Day card, but instead download that dangerous keystroke logging malware that I described above.

TIPS

It is always dangerous to buy anything online from any store or company with which you are not familiar.  Check out the company with the Better Business Bureau, your state’s Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission or just do a Google search to see if the company is legitimate.  Even then you are better off going directly to the company rather than dealing with a company through an email that may just be a forgery of an email from a legitimate company.  As always, if  the offer you receive sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  As for e-cards, never open an e card unless it specifically indicates who sent the card.  Phony e cards will not indicate the name of the sender.

Scam of the day – May 10, 2014 – Mothers’ Day scams

Although for many of us, Mothers’ Day is an opportunity to show our mothers how much we love and appreciate them, for scam artists, the only criminals we refer to as artists, it is yet another opportunity to scam people.  One common Mothers’ Day scam involves an email that you get offering Mothers’ Day gifts such as flowers, jewelry, shoes or clothing at tremendously discounted prices.  All you need to do is to click on a link to order online.  The problem is that many of these offers are indeed scams.  If you click on the link, one of two things can happen and both are bad.  Sometimes the link will take you to an order form where you provide your credit card information, but never get anything in return.  Instead your credit card information is used to make you a victim of identity theft.  Even worse is the other possibility which is by clicking on the link, you will unwittingly download a keystroke logging malware program that will steal all of the personal information stored on your computer and use that information to make you a victim of identity theft.  Another Mothers’ Day scam involves e-cards which are great, particularly for those of us who forget to get a Mother’s Day card until the last minute.  Again, however, identity thieves will send emails purporting to contain a link to an electronic Mothers’ Day card, but if Mom clicks on the link, she will download that dangerous keystroke logging malware that I just described.

TIPS

It is always dangerous to buy anything online from any store or company with which you are not familiar.  Check out the company with the Better Business Bureau, your state’s Attorney General, the Federal Trade Commission or just on Google to see if the company is legitimate.  Even then you are better going directly to the company rather than dealing with a company through an email that may just be a forgery of an email from a legitimate company.  As always, if  the offer you receive sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  As for e-cards, never open an e card unless it specifically indicates who sent the card.  Phony e cards will not indicate the name of the sender.  If the email card states that it is from “your son” or “your daughter,” don’t open it until you have confirmed with your child that they indeed did send that particular e-card.  You can’t trust an e-card that indicates it comes from someone where only the first name is used because that too may be a scam.  The best course of action is to always confirm with the purported sender that they have sent you an e-card before you open it.

Scam of the day – February 14, 2014 – Valentine’s Day scams

Every holiday and major event is viewed by scammers an another opportunity to prey upon their victims and Valentine’s Day is no exception.  There are many scams of which you should be aware today.  E greeting cards are a convenient way to send a card at the last minute, but still get it there on time.  Unfortunately scammers send phony e-cards on Valentine’s Day that come loaded with malware that when you click on the link to download the card will infect your computer with keystroke logging malware that enables the scammer to steal your personal information from your computer and use it to make you a victim of identity theft.  Online dating services can be legitimate, however, they cannot  investigate everyone who appears on their website.  Scammers will create phony profiles, often using photographs of attractive people from modeling websites.  These online dating scammers will quickly profess their love and just as quickly start asking for money for various purposes, which may sound legitimate, but certainly are not.  Other times they may prompt you to send revealing photographs only to end up threatening to put the pictures up on the internet unless you pay them blackmail.  Phony online dating is dangerous.  Recently Jette Jacobs, a 67 year old Australian grandmother not only gave $90,000 to a scammer who professed love for her on the Internet, but when she went to visit him in South Africa, she ended up murdered.

TIPS

Never open an e card from a secret admirer and even if the card appears to come from someone you know and trust, contact them first in order to confirm that they actually sent the card and not someone who may have hacked their email account.  When doing online dating be careful about sharing personal information.  Also be wary when the person you meet on the website wants you to use personal emails rather than use the dating site for communicating.  Use a different user name and special email account when doing online dating to protect your privacy.  Never wire money to someone you have not met  It is like sending cash.    Be particularly wary of people who say they are Americans working in a foreign country, but don’t know American jargon.  Finally never send compromising photographs you would not want to be made public to anyone whom you have not met in person.

Scam of the day – July 2, 2013 – Fourth of July scams

Every season is scam season and every day provides unique opportunity for scam artists, the only criminals that we call artists, to try to scam us out of our hard earned money.  Here are a few scams that you should be aware of that will be coming on the Fourth of July.  Many scammers send out emails or text messages purportedly from your bank, the IRS or any of a number of state and federal agencies in which they require you to provide personal information under the guise of some emergency, such as an alleged security breach at your bank.  They do this because if they can frighten you enough to act, you are unable to confirm with the real entity as to whether the communication is legitimate because all of these entities will be closed on the Fourth of July.  If you provide the requested information, it will be used against you to make you a victim of identity theft.  You also should be wary of Fourth of July e cards that you may receive.  These can be loaded with keystroke logging malware that will steal all of the information from your computer or portable device if you download the malware by clicking on the link.  You should also be wary of messages that appear on your Facebook page with links to Fourth of July themed videos that arouse your curiosity.  Again, the links contained within these messages may be loaded with keystroke logging malware.

TIPS

The IRS and many other state and federal agencies will not initiate communications with you through email so you can disregard that email from the IRS or other similar entities.  It is important to be skeptical of any email or text message that you receive that requests personal information.  Never provide such information or click on links in such emails unless you are absolutely sure that the request is legitimate and you can’t be sure unless you have confirmed with the person or entity that purportedly sent it that it is indeed legitimate.  If you can’t confirm on the Fourth of July, let it wait until you can.  As for e cards, never click on a link to an e card unless the message specifically indicates from whom it is being sent and only then after you have confirmed with that person that they indeed did send you an e card.